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Counselor Education and Supervision


Corinne W. Bridges


As the counseling profession continues to evolve and change, there is a growing need for more professional counselors who are appropriately trained. Research indicated that a high percentage of prospective and current counseling graduate students lacked awareness of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accreditation prior to and following enrollment in a counseling graduate program; therefore, these students were not making fully informed decisions when selecting an appropriate graduate program that would prove beneficial to their professional goals. In this descriptive phenomenological inquiry, 7 master’s-level counseling students provided their lived experiences of searching for and selecting a graduate program, specifying how CACREP-awareness was influential. The collected data was analyzed using the 6 steps of the descriptive phenomenological psychological method. Five clear themes emerged, under which 2 presented additional sub-themes. The theme of chosen program factors, familiarity, and flexibility yielded 5 subthemes: format, location, finances, faculty, and program requirements. Theme 5, identification of CACREP-accreditation, was further divided into discovery of CACREP-accreditation and state licensure requirements. These results provided a foundation for use in future research on CACREP-awareness and how students learn about CACREP. In addition, the findings aid in the facilitation of outreach efforts to increase CACREP-dialogue across the profession and within undergraduate programs. This information can be used to inform counseling programs about the importance student’s ascribe to accreditation resulting in increased advertisement and strengthened recruitment measures.